Sarcoma Treatment at UIHC

By Jami Brinton, Reporter

EAST DUBUQUE - In East Dubuque, Illinois, a woman faced losing her leg after doctors told her she had cancer, for a second time.

But there's reason to hope that the amputation won't be necessary.

More than 20 years ago, Mary Liebold learned she had myoid lipo sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

Dr. Joseph Buckwalter, Chariman of Orthopedic Surgery says, "She did very well for a long time then just within the last year or so she started to notice a mass growing in that area."

The cancer had returned to the same spot on her right leg.

"Sometimes sarcomas when they come back they don't pay attention to the rules. They can come back anywhere," said Dr. Mohammed Milhem, Sarcoma Program Facilitator.

Mary Liebold said, "One of the biggest fears I had was losing my leg and I knew that was a big possibility."

Liebold learned about a new drug called Trabectidin that was being offered as part of a small, world-wide clinical trial of which UIHC happened to be participating in.

"I felt that since this seemed to be specialized towards the type of cancer that I had that would be my best option."

Liebold took six, 24-hour doses of the drug to kill off the tumor completely.

Doctors didn't expect the drug to shrink the cancerous tumor, but slow the growth.

That helped make Dr. Buckwalter efforts to remove the cancer and save Liebold's leg much easier.

"It's a really exciting advance because it makes us feel like we can save a limb in a patient like Mary and still give her a very, very good chance of controlling if not curing the disease."

And knowing that she's nearly beat cancer, again, is a good feeling.

Doctors told TV9 that Liebold's prognosis looks good. She's expected to finish her radiation treatments Friday.
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